Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Bottling Up Some Memories of Milk; {Free Milk at Recess Not Every Child's Cup of Tea, Historian Di Millar Looks at the Issue} {Old Days: Back When a Warm Drink Was Part of the Average School Day in Australia}

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Bottling Up Some Memories of Milk; {Free Milk at Recess Not Every Child's Cup of Tea, Historian Di Millar Looks at the Issue} {Old Days: Back When a Warm Drink Was Part of the Average School Day in Australia}

Article excerpt

Byline: DI MILLAR

THE time frame may vary a little between states but back in the 1950s and 1960s a free milk scheme operated in Australian primary schools.

The scheme continued until it was disbanded by the Federal Government in 1973, however, 20 or so years later, other schemes were reintroduced.

The campaign was introduced with the good intention of augmenting the nutritional intake of growing children under the age of 13 and children were supplied with a small bottle containing one third of a pint (200ml) of milk and a plain paper drinking straw.

The silver bottle cap was hard to remove and no matter how hard you pushed your thumb down on it the top refused to budge.

Children resorted to piercing the top with any sharp object near to hand such as small sticks or a pencil so the flimsy straw could be inserted.

After the milk was delivered to the schools it was never refrigerated and by "little lunch" it was warm.

The children who attended Terranora Public School were fortunate because the milk was kept cool in the shade of the school ground's large camphor laurel trees.

The children were also fortunate they had flavoured milk and chocolate, strawberry and lime are three well-remembered flavours.

Also remembered is the pink hue the tea of the school's two teachers took on when the strawberry milk was poured in.

It was a different situation faced several years later at Tweed Heads Primary School.

The milk was carried to the playground by milk monitors, usually the school prefects, and distribution was supervised by the teachers on playground duty.

The milk was warm, white and, particularly for a child used to drinking fresh cow's milk, tasted very odd.

The milk had to be shaken thoroughly in order to remove the glob of cream floating on the top.

Lots of children, however, seemed to love their milk and happily drank it.

The free milk consumption scheme was a voluntary activity that required parental permission for the child's participation but no amount of childish pleading swayed parents from accepting the offer of free milk.

Devious methods were found to dispose of the unwanted fluid and this proved difficult to accomplish while under the watchful eye of a playground teacher. …

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